My Niece Catches Me Putting On Makeup
Jennifer Peterson

My Niece Catches Me Putting On Makeup

You, who are never still, have stationed yourself
beside the door to watch. The vanity
light shimmers on your clean, upturned face,
glazes the rising pink of your mouth.

You have come from your kitchen
of painted burners and harmless knives;
the baby in your inconstant care
will never cry—a twinkle pasted
on her lavender eyes.

And now you watch me, ready to repeat
the strokes that form these long
and somber lashes, white brow and tinted cheeks—
a clumsy imitation of your youth.

Jennifer Peterson

is an MFA student at Albertus Magnus College. She lives in New Haven, CT, with her husband, Joe, and eighteen-month-old daughter, Helen.